For those of you not familiar with Modern Man, they were Allen Glenn. What I mean to say is it began as a one-man side project from Last Van Zant (R.I.P) and We Are Now bassist Allen Glenn. He played many a show in 2010 with just him and a boombox and release a few EP’s. But that was then, and this is now. Modern Man now consists of Glenn, guitarist Brian Draper, bassist Jose Davila and drummer Jeff Perry.
So with his new band comes the new Modern Man full-length. This album does what every successful follow-up should do, it keeps the good thing about the previous recordings but improves upon the strengths and also leads the way into the next chapter without sacrificing what you loved in the first place. Despite it’s semi lo-fi approach to recording (self-recorded by the band), this album still manages to sound massive when it needs to.
Eschewing many of the no-wave tendencies of prior recordings, this album has more in common with some of the more noteworthy and grittier songs from The Cure during their Disintegration and Pornography eras.
The name of the game on this album is texture. Guitarist Brian Draper’s leads permeate the songs with haunting melody like in “Hotel” and opening track “Change.” In other tracks, they channel his inner Smashing Pumpkin’s fan-need to fill the sonic void when pushed further down in the mix (Get Out and Time to Change).
Perhaps the break-out stars of the show would be the rhythm section of Davila and Perry. They lock down and drive all of the songs competently and really push the dynamics of the album, especially on “Change”, “Consume” and “White Lies”.
There is also much to be said for Glenn’s adventurousness. He shakes what could be the trappings of essentially being a solo artist and adapts to the challenge of having a full band well. Compared to previous recordings, we see him experiment with more vocal ranges and overdubs, all of which help give the songs a different identity in comparison to previous recordings where at times it became difficult to differentiate one track from another to the untrained ear.
He also embraces the playfullness of having a live band well, especially on closing tracks “Solid Gold” and “Judy Lies”. These songs both have quicker tempos than the previous tracks and the latter is just a beautiful cacophony in which we hear Glenn let loose and scream for the first time on the album. This song just builds and builds into a whirlwind of noise that is sure to get anyone in attendance to take notice.
Actually that last sentence pretty much sums it up, Modern Man are here: Take Notice.
You can download the entire album from Bandcamp here
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